'Everything is everywhere: but the environment selects': ubiquitous distribution and ecological determinism in microbial biogeography

Recent discoveries of geographical patterns in microbial distribution are undermining microbiology’s exclusively ecological explanations of biogeography and their fundamental assumption that ‘everything is everywhere: but the environment selects’. This statement was generally promulgated by Dutch microbiologist Martinus Wilhelm Beijerinck early in the twentieth century and specifically articulated in 1934 by his compatriot, Lourens G. M. Baas Becking. The persistence of this precept throughout twentieth-century microbiology raises a number of issues in relation to its formulation and widespread acceptance. This paper will trace the conceptual history of Beijerinck’s claim that ‘everything is everywhere’ in relation to a more general account of its theoretical, experimental and institutional context. His principle also needs to be situated in relationship to plant and animal biogeography, which, this paper will argue, forms a continuum of thought with microbial biogeography. Finally, a brief overview of the contemporary microbiological research challenging ‘everything is everywhere’ reveals that philosophical issues from Beijerinck’s era of microbiology still provoke intense discussion in twenty-first century investigations of microbial biogeography
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2008.06.005
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2000). Darwin on Variation and Heredity. Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):425-455.
Maureen A. O'Malley & Yan Boucher (2005). Paradigm Change in Evolutionary Microbiology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (1):183-208.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

83 ( #57,198 of 1,926,181 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

20 ( #30,560 of 1,926,181 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.